Regional Director of Cultural Intelligence
Ogilvy Group UK

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Nazia H

00.00.03 I’m Nazia H, I work at Ogilvy advertising and I work as a regional director of cultural intelligence. What we often have is large multinational clients who have big brands that need to be understood and ideally loved by people all over the world. People all over the world are different and will be looking for different things from the products that they buy, so what I do is try and work out how brands can understand people’s needs in different parts of the world better, so as to be able to sort of supply them better in a sense.

00.00.44 Even at age 15, I felt like the world was enormous and I was living in one very small very specific part of it. I was in Bangladesh at the time. I think I just had a curiosity about the rest of the world that couldn’t be satisfied by staying in Bangladesh, so I decided to leave.

00.01.03 I knew my parents were not going to be able to afford any of the best international boarding schools so I just applied for scholarships and I got to go to United Royal College, which is a lovely institution that basically helps underprivileged children. They are fabulous because they basically have one person represented from every country in the world, so my first year away from home I was living with a Zimbabwean and a Chinese girl and a Canadian girl. We had, you know, four bunk beds to a dorm room and were just told to get on with it.

00.01.34 I came from quite a traditional Asian family, you didn’t really not go to university. It wasn’t done, and so I read English at Oxford and loved it, but couldn’t for the life of me think of what to do next, because what you do with an English degree? It’s what everyone who finishes an English degree will say, you know. I really wasn’t ready to make a career decision at that point so I decided that I would go into a Masters in something that I actually really loved, which is Chinese culture.

00.02.05 So I spent two years on a thesis on basically how advertising has happened in China. At the end of that I realized that I had kind of chanced upon something quite good in that the China boom was just beginning, and I happened to be fluent in Chinese and English, and people happened to be really needing that at the time, so I was quite lucky in a good place at a good time.

00.02.33 I came across WPP, who basically they came to Oxford every year and they gave this company presentation on their Graduate Fellowship scheme. I spent half my year in London and half my year in Shanghai because my clients at the time were Chinese, local Chinese clients. So my very first job out of university I was using the language skills and I was using a lot of the cultural context skills that I picked up through anthropology, so it was a great start.

00.03.03 My parents are quite proud of me. They never really pressured me into doing anything, I think they probably just knew that I would do what I wanted to do anyway. And they probably just thank their lucky stars that it was quite a good thing that I wanted to do, I wanted to study and, you know, work quite hard to get a good job and I think I was brought up fairly traditionally in a fairly conservative society.

00.03.31 I like travelling but I do travel a lot for work, so I get to do it through my job which is great. And I love cooking, and again, that is partly, I think it comes with travel when you’ve tried lots of different kinds of food, you tend to want to eat lots of different kinds of food when you can, and so you tend to try and cook it and so that is kind of what I do, I cook in my spare time.

“A curiosity about the rest of the world” led Nazia H to leave Bangladesh at age 15 to continue her education in the UK. Now the Regional Director of Cultural Intelligence for international advertising, marketing, and public relations agency Oglivy, Nazia enjoys travelling around the world developing brand names from a cultural perspective.

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? Business and related research professionals carry out a variety of research activities for the broadcast and print media, for the police and armed forces intelligence services, for national security agencies and in other non-scientific areas.
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